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The Jerk (1979)

R  |   |  Comedy  |  14 December 1979 (USA)
Your rating:
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 40,855 users  
Reviews: 118 user | 56 critic

An idiotic man struggles to make it through life on his own in St. Louis.



(screenplay), (screenplay), 3 more credits »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Navin / Cat Juggler (as Pig Eye Jackson also)
Richard Ward ...
Helena Carroll ...
Elvira (as Ren Wood)
Sonny Terry ...
Brownie McGhee ...
Blues Singer (as Brownie McGee)


Navin is an idiot. He grew up in Mississippi as adopted son of a black family but on his 18th birthday he feels he wants to discover the rest of the world and sets out to St. Louis. There everyone exploits his naivety, but then a simple invention brings him a fortune. Written by Tom Zoerner <Tom.Zoerner@informatik.uni-erlangen.de>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


A rags to riches to rags story See more »




R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

14 December 1979 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Easy Money  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Many movie posters featured the following blurb: "He was a poor black sharecropper's son who never dreamed he was adopted. Steve Martin in The Jerk (1979). A rags to riches to rags story". See more »


When the family is sitting around the table for Navin's (Steve Martin) birthday, the family congratulates him and his brother says "That's great Steve!" See more »


[first lines]
Navin R. Johnson: Huh? I am *not* a bum. I'm a jerk. I once had wealth, power, and the love of a beautiful woman. Now I only have two things: my friends, and... uh... my thermos. Huh? My story? Okay. It was never easy for me. I was born a poor black child. I remember the days, sittin' on the porch with my family, singin' and dancin' down in Mississippi...
See more »

Crazy Credits

Pig Eye Jackson - Cat Juggler (Steve Martin) See more »


Referenced in The 82nd Annual Academy Awards (2010) See more »


Pick A Bale Of Cotton
Sung by Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee (as Brownie McGee)
Words and Music by Leadbelly (as Huddie Ledbetter)
Collected and Adapted by John A. Lomax and Alan Lomax
See more »

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User Reviews

Lord loves a workin' man; don't trust whitey; see a doctor and get rid of it.
10 June 2001 | by (USA) – See all my reviews

Why is the rating for "The Jerk" so low? Every comment said that this movie was hilarious! Hey, anyone out there who gave "The Jerk" a low rating, come write a comment! I don't even know what's not to like about this movie. The script is extremely funny. The naive, ambitious Navin Johnson is the role that Steve Martin was born to play. This is one of the funniest movies ever (any fans of my comments know that I say that often, but I really mean it!).

P.S. If you're a worried parent wondering if this movie is okay for your child to see, let him / her see it. It's actually pretty tame. I couldn't tell what made it an R-rated movie.

37 of 50 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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